Keynsham RFC 19 - 41 Hornets RFC
Improvements will be forthcoming, no doubt? That was the question posed after 2 very poor performances. There were some slightly better aspects when the first xv played Hornets at the Crown Field on Saturday, but not many, and not enough, as they missed an opportunity of stretching the gap away from a relegation spot with home advantage.
Hornets started stronger and pressurised the home line but the defence held and they moved up-field. Once there, two massive driving mauls took them to the line and Joe Clements, playing as hooker on this occasion, squeezed over for a try, which Sam Challenger converted after 13 minutes. 10 minutes later, a very slick handling movement by the visitors created space for their highly elusive winger, Carter, to beat several defenders in a weaving run to the line from 40 metres out. This was converted to equal things up. Bushy retired with a knee injury shortly thereafter and was replaced by Rugbin Edwards. He played as flanker with Matt Withey moving to no 8. 31 minutes in, and Rob Breckon was sin-binned for a high tackle. From the resultant penalty Hornets had a 5-metre line out and in the ensuing phases their centre Gadd scored try no 2, which was also converted. Keynsham came back and pressurised the visitors’ line, leading to a yellow card to level the team numbers. They gave away a penalty when in a try scoring position and a huge clearance kick was not cleared up by the home side and a third, this time unconverted, try was shipped. The half ended with yet another Keynsham attacking move lost by a mistake in handling. Score 7-19.
Once again, the front 5 dominated set play proceedings, once again the line outs did not function consistently, once again too many mistakes in all areas of the pitch. Plenty to talk about at half time then.
The second half started with Keynsham still in a generous mood. They made a hash of gathering the re-start kick, fumbled with a bouncing ball and lost a defensive line-out to give the Hornets an attacking platform. From a forward drive, held up near the line, their stand-off, Disney, sneaked around the short side and stole in for their bonus point try. (There was then a lengthy pause whilst a Keynsham prop forward had lessons from another forward as to how to put on a boot properly and lace it up). Keynsham then had what was to be their only period of dominance. Firstly, Rich Court fought his way clear from a catch and drive line-out to touchdown and 6 minutes later, after a series of 5-metre scrums, were awarded a penalty try. This narrowed the gap to 5 points at 19-24 and all to play for.
Oops, the local boys again failed to handle the re-start and the gap was back to 10 points with a gifted try. Keynsham’s scrum dominance was snatched away at this point when the scrums became uncontested, although they were, as the rules stipulate, playing against 14 Hornets. It was Hornets who still had the sting (sorry, I had to work that in!) and ran in two more tries, one unconverted and the other one converted at the final whistle.
Disappointing, but credit to the visitors, whose back three were very impressive with ball in hand.
It is time for the squad to regroup and consider if they wish to continue to play at this league level. To do so requires them to play as a team not individuals, and to remember that training and commitment to one’s teammates is a necessity not a luxury, to be done at will.